Art history Paper

Art history.

Art history.

Part One.

Question 1.

All the statues of David by Donatello, Michelangelo, and Gianlorenzo Bernini are similar and different. Donatello’s and Michelangelo’s statues are similar mainly because they were from the same art period. Donatello’s and Michelangelo’s David sculptures are nude while Bernini’s is partially nude where a piece of cloth is used to cover his private parts. All the sculptures depict David during his fight with Goliath but at three different times during the fight. Michelangelo portrays David before the battle with Goliath, while Donatello depicts David during the battle with Goliath. Bernini portrays David when he is on the move to strike Goliath using the slingshot. Both Michelangelo’s and Bernini’s David sculptures were carved from marble. Both sculpted David in a contrapposto pose, a naturalistic representation of a human leaning to one hip Art history Paper.

Question 2.

Though Michelangelo and Donatello’s sculptures depicted David during the fight, they represented two distinct moments. Michelangelo describes a scene in which David hears his people hesitating, and Goliath mocks them. Donatello shows David after defeating the mighty giant, chopping off his head with his blade, and standing on Goliath’s back (Donatello., 1446-1460.). In Donatello’s sculpture, Goliath represents Milan, while in Michelangelo’s sculpture, Goliath represented Rome or Medici power. The two sculptures have several differences in terms of structure and form. First, Donatello’s sculpture was made of bronze, while Michelangelo’s was made of marble. Before casting his work in bronze, Donatello sculpted it in clay. This was technically difficult because it was carved and then covered in wax, which was then burnt out when molten bronze was poured (Donatello., 1446-1460.). David was carved out of a giant block of marble by Michelangelo (Michelangelo., 1501-1504.). They had different heights where Donatello’s David had 5’2 ¼" while Michelangelo’s David was 17" (inches).

Donatello’s David is shown in a feminine body shape that explains Jonathan’s feelings for Davis and a demonstration that the killing of Goliath was attributed to God’s will, not his feminine physic (Donatello., 1446-1460.). Donatello was a very gay character, which may have influenced his depiction of David. On the other hand, Michelangelo’s David represented male physic include masculine characteristics of courage. As shown above, the sculpture represented Hercules; hence, it was appropriate for all masculine features.

Michelangelo’s sculpture is soothing, and the only feeling it seems to elicit in viewers is the curiosity of what was going to happen or what David was thinking Art history Paper. On the other hand, by constructing a figure in motion, Bernini adds the surrounding space, allowing the viewer to feel the weight of an unseen intruder behind them. This encourages the observer to become a participant rather than a bystander in the play, evoking fear.

Question 3.

Donatello’s David portrays courage and success as a result of the win over Goliath. This is clear from the fact that he is standing on Goliath’s head and holding his sword which is a clear demonstration of success. Michelangelo’s David and Bernini’s David have several differences, mainly on how the two are portrayed or their activity at the time. On the one hand, Michelangelo portrays a strong and self-approved man (Michelangelo., 1501-1504.). Michelangelo’s David demonstrates courage and confidence ad he emerges from the crowd to fight the giant who everyone is afraid of where he emerges from the crowd to fight the giant troubling their soldiers. David’s concentrated expression, which he wears in a cool stance with a slingshot, reveals the figure’s emotional side. Michelangelo’s David frowns and looks blankly into space as if internally preparing for the impending war. Bernini’s David has a three-dimensional composition that thrusts into space. The hero is curled to one foot and bent at the waist, ready to hurl the stone at Goliath. Bernini’s David, with his muscular, athletic body, closely gripped jaw, and straining shoulders, is all about the action, determination, and completion of his mission to kill Goliath (Bernini, 1623).

Question 4.

Donatella’s and Michelangelo’s David sculptures portray naturalism which was a common feature of renaissance art. The sculptures were both created to have meaning in the world at the time. This meant that David represented Florence in the two sculptures (Donatello., 1446-1460.). Hence, Florence was a small city compared to "David," who beat many "Goliaths," referring to bigger and stronger powers and cities. Other cities had not managed to do this. Both Donatello’s and Michelangelo’s statues significantly represent roman and art. However, Donatello’s statue also represents Greek art (Donatello., 1446-1460.). These similarities are evident due to their depiction of Roman gods and goddesses, especially on how they were built. Michelangelo’s statue is compared to Hercules, especially through the pose. Hercules is known to have valued Florence to the point he appeared on the Florence seal for centuries (Michelangelo., 1501-1504.). Both statues were made to be exhibited in Florence Art history Paper.

Bernini’s sculpture was very different from the two mainly because they were from two different periods in art history. Artists in the Baroque period adopted and rejected Renaissance ideals. This is clear from how their works were made to bring out intense emotional responses from the audience or viewers. This aspect was brought out by the notable rich visual colors, lighting, movement in space, and other evident details showing the intention of the work.

Part Two.

Frans Hals, The Women Regents of the Old Men’s Home at Haarlem, c. 1664.

The painting mainly depicts the social structure especially through capturing the role and place of women in the community. The women Regents portrayed responsibility which was expected of women governing the almshouse. The women were maybe tired after their work for caring for the elderly and the poor. They were expected to ensure everything was running smoothly as expected, which was a social expectation at the time (Hals, 1664). The women demonstrated dignity, which the artist showed through their poses and likeness. Judging from the simple background comprising just a landscape painting, the seriousness of the women, and the poses, the women are captured in time, demonstrating the place and role of women in sixteenth-century Holland.

Rembrandt van Rijn, The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Tulp, 1632.

The painting depicts a major academic and medical event hence it is mainly aligned to commerce during its time of painting. The painting captures Nicolaes Tulp explaining the musculature of the arm to a group of doctors. Tulp was a celebrated city anatomist and lecturer who was helping doctors understand the workings of the muscle in the forearm (Rembrandt., 1632). However, a viewer is keen to notice the attentiveness of doctors and the proximity to the corpse. The painting demonstrated the tradition of the Netherlands of anatomy lectures which Andreas Vesalius established. The tradition dictated that the head of the surgeon’s guild, also known as "Praelector Anatomiae," would hold a lecture for the guild where a corpse of an executed criminal would be dissected (Rembrandt., 1632). During the session, the head would have his portrait with the students painted. Tulp was "Praelector" between 1628 and 1653and the painting was made on 31st January 1632 during the lesson where he dissected the corpse of Adriaen Adriensz, an armed robber who had been hanged earlier in the day.

Johannes Vermeer, Woman Holding a Balance, c. 1664.

The painting mainly depicts the social structure and religion through the portrayal of the woman and the need for satisfaction in material possessions and their consequences which is greatly emphasized in religious teachings. It shows a woman holding a balance which portrayed a sense of stability and rhythm that was common to Vermeer. The scales in the woman’s hand, are at equilibrium which suggests the inner states of a mind amidst the hard decision between earthly possessions and inner satisfaction. The woman communicates the importance of living our lives with temperance and moderation (Vermeer, 1984). In the sixteenth century, gold and pearls were crucial, but the woman had to decide whether to focus on the early tressures or her inner peace and the consequences of her actions. The woman depicted in the painting seems pregnant, which is not the case, but a depiction of a conventional sixteenth-century ideal of feminine beauty.


Bernini, L. G. (1623). David. Galleria Borghese., Rome.

Donatello. (1446-1460.). David. Museo Nazionale del Bargello., Florence.

Hals, F. (1664). The Women Regents of the Old Men’s Home at Haarlem. Haarlem, Netherlands.

Michelangelo. (1501-1504.). David. Galleria dell’ Accademia, Florence.

Rembrandt. (1632). The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp. Mauritshuis, The Hague.

Vermeer, J. (1984). Woman holding a balance. National Gallery of Art Art history Paper.